Ask yourself … have you ever said or heard one of your friends say one of the following things?
- “I just lost myself with him”
- “I lose myself in relationships”
- “I just couldn’t be myself with him”
- “I stop doing the things I love when I get into a relationship”
- “I haven’t hung out with my girlfriends in forever”
or this …
- “Now that we have broken up, I just instantly feel like myself again”
- “Oh, it’s so nice to look at myself in the mirror and see myself”
- “I have been working out so much since we have broken up and am back to my normal weight”
- “It’s so nice to see all of you” … you say to your friends at a happy hour after not seeing your them for six months because you have been in “boyfriendland”
If you answered yes, don’t worry, it happens to the best of us:
- “I used to paint” – Allie (Rachel McAdams) from the Notebook
- “I just want to see the girl I met in the parking lot, the girl who wouldn’t ask me what to do” – The guy from Blue Crush, when Anne Marie (Kate Bosworth) loses herself and has to dramatically jump in the ocean (fully dressed in a cocktail dress mind you) to come back to herself after almost giving up her surfing career, job, family and friends for a Pro Football Player she has known for 5 days
- The woman in the song Grey Street (Dave Matthews Band)
O.k. I am going to figure this thing out, not only for me, but for all of us. Why is it that when we get into relationships we basically give up everything we love … including ourselves sometimes, when ironically, that’s the thing that attracts the good stuff in the first place … are we really so surprised when things don’t work out? (and btw, I have seen this happen to my guy friends too, so, if there are any guys reading this, you might learn something too).
Out of curiosity, I did some research and found out that there are 100’s of books on this very topic … “Don’t Lose Yourself in Love”, “Loving Him Without Losing You”, “Women Who Lose Themselves”, “What to do when you think you might be Losing Yourself” and my personal favorite title: “Where Did You Go? How Not to Lose Yourself When You Finally Meet Him” via the Oprah site. Yikes, this is worse than I thought.
Well, good news, I don’t think it’s as complicated as we think.
My friend once gave me the best advice … When you get into a new relationship and feel yourself falling into that pattern of making your significant other “the center of your universe”, which yes, feels incredible and is it’s hard not to do, just remember, if you decide to get lost in the blissful relationship bubble, your other (extremely important) responsibility is to keep doing the things that make/keep you happy (… run, surf, write, hike, paint, yoga, climb mountains, take pictures, be with your friends, swim, cook, work, whatever).
Think about it, you have taken your whole life to, #1 figure out what those things are and, #2 learn how to incorporate them into your life … why on Earth would you instantly hand over that job to someone you just met? … and then become disappointed (maybe even cry … really?) when they don’t do as good of a job of keeping you happy as you do. Silly right?
It’s pretty simple … as much as you want to spend every waking moment together, make sure to break away on occasion to keep being you, (and encourage them to do the same) … then when you are together, you not only get to share those experiences, but you get to enjoy each other … and bonus, when you stop counting on the other person to make you happy, they usually exceed your expectations.
Moral of this little story is no matter if you have been in a relationship for 10 days or 10 years (kids/no kids), or if you’re single, maintain the beautiful responsibility (or rather, view it as a gift) of keeping yourself YOU, because being you is the best gift you can give to everyone around you … especially yourself!
Check out How to NOT lose a guy (and more importantly yourself) in 10 Days on Elephant Journal published on November 6, 2011.